You can see where it’s going. The Coalition election machine is switching course and revving up. It’s not going to tackle any issue of substance impacting the country. Instead, it’s going to go full blown coalmania, out of the blue, to shoot for another energy election bamboozling.
Via the AFR:
The federal government has confirmed the Clean Energy Target as proposed by Chief Scientist Alan Finkel will be overhauled and replaced with a policy that will place much greater emphasis on coal-fired baseload power and possibly a slower transition to renewable energy.
At the same time, energy regulators and industry sources suggested there was no need to prolong the life of the Liddell Power Station in NSW and that energy shortfall created by its closure in 2022 could be met by other means
The federal government has given AGL Energy 90 days to reveal long-term plans to replace the generation capacity of the Liddell Power Station, even though there was no national energy policy to guide the process.
Federal Labor and senior sources within the energy industry said instead of picking on individual companies,the government should get on with announcing a policy to give all energy investors the certainty they crave.
Does anyone recall the PM that lost his job defending a market mechanism for energy decarbonisation? The PM commissioned Finkel himself but’s that’s gone too. Coalmania is all that matters now even though it won’t do anything for five years for power prices and even then will only keep prices higher. The notion that we should deal with the real problem, the price of gas, given it sets the marginal cost of electricity, is nowhere.
Over at The Australian, Coalmania (or should I say Coalition re-election mania) is in full roar. Gas sector apologist, Judith Sloan, redoubles her assault:
The Turnbull government would be completely bonkers to commit to a clean energy target. Such an intervention is simply a dressed-up version of the renewable energy target that has so distorted our electricity system that all we can now purchase is high-priced, unreliable power.
Don’t believe all the drivel about a CET allowing clean coal or gas. It is much less about the benchmark that is set — CO2 per megawatt hour — than about the emissions reduction target.
Under the Finkel model, we will move from 22 per cent renewables in 2020 to 42 per cent in 2030. Virtually all new investment will be in unreliable renewables.
But, you say, the cost of renewables is coming down and there is scope for the intermittent nature of renewable energy to be resolved through back-up solutions, including gas peaking (expensive), pumped hydro (inefficient) and untested batteries.
It’s not another RET. It’s technology agnostic. That’s the whole point of it.
But don’t get in the way of Coalmania! Don’t invest based upon principles of economics, or long term profitability or sense. Not if it ain’t coal! Janet Albrechtsen joins in:
A few weeks ago, the Prime Minister said more than two million Australian families and small businesses could save 25 per cent by changing energy plans or retailers. At a meeting with the heads of Australia’s major energy retailers, Malcolm Turnbull demanded that they write to customers informing them of better deals. Maybe the letter is in the mail.
I rang my energy provider a few days ago and asked a very obliging woman in AGL’s call centre how I could reduce my power bill. She immediately offered a 24 per cent discount. No new contract, just pay on time please. I inquired whether lots of people were asking for a better deal from AGL. She said not so many. People didn’t think to ask, she said, and they weren’t always told of new discounted deals. The woman said she was sad for older customers who were really feeling the pinch of steep electricity prices. Not to mention the poor, regardless of age, people trying to stay in business, even grow their business and employ more people. In fact, all of us are paying for a monumental policy failure in a country with abundant supplies of cheap and reliable energy.
Headlines about AGL boss Andy Vesey being a “victim” in the government’s power blame game don’t wash. As Scott Morrison likes to say, cry me a river. When Australia’s largest energy supplier offers a 24 per cent cut to your power bill only when a customer asks for a discount, it says something about how AGL prices power and how it treats customers. It says it’s charging more than it needs to, because it can. So who’s the victim?
Dennis Shanahan seizes the moment:
After two years as Liberal leader, Turnbull has succeeded on power prices. He should have started when he became leader and stuck with it.
Turnbull, Scott Morrison, and Josh Frydenberg are putting rising prices, not climate change, as the priority and it is giving the Coalition the edge on Labor in parliament.
Having suffered at the hands of AGL over the extension of the life of the Liddell power station in NSW to try to find the lost 1000 megawatts of electricity, Turnbull went hard yesterday and finally took “as a compliment” that he was standing up for coal.
In response to Labor claims that five coal-fired power stations have been closed, Turnbull’s put-down was that the ALP “wanted to close more of them, and more frequently”.
Shorten’s response is thin on policy and politics: Labor just says the clean energy target must be implemented and then everything will be hunky-dory.
Some nice balance there!
Suddenly, coal-fired power is under threat from all angles!
EnergyAustralia has warned it could be forced to shut one of the nation’s newest and most efficient black-coal-fired power stations supplying up to 1.2 million customers in NSW, following a Court of Appeal decision it claims has threatened its only supply of coal to the plant.
The potential closure would take up to 1400 megawatts out of the energy market, or the equivalent of 15 per cent of electricity supply to the NSW system.
The Australian has confirmed with EnergyAustralia executives that the prospect of a forced shutdown of the Mount Piper power station in central-western NSW, which has an operational life to 2042, was a “real risk” following legal action launched by green activist group 4nature against planning consent for an extension of the Springvale mine owned by Centennial Coal.
And Elon Musk has swindled SA:
A contract between US tech billionaire Elon Musk and the South Australian government for the world’s largest lithium-ion battery hides the cost and key details, fuelling claims the deal is a “marketing con”.
The contract says the grid-connected battery facility is to be commissioned and operational by December 1.
“The facility will provide services to maintain power system security, integrity and stability for the South Australian electricity network, prevent certain load shedding events, provide supply during critical peak periods and participate in ancillary services and wholesale electricity markets,” the contract says.
The contract value is “not disclosed” and the contract is “not disclosed in full as it contains confidential business information”.
…“With every passing day Labor’s secret deal sounds more like a marketing con than a genuine plan to deal with South Australia’s electricity problems,” Liberal deputy leader Vickie Chapman said. “Jay Weatherill needs to be honest with the people of South Australia about how much public money he is handing over to a foreign billionaire.
Now look, there are real issues with energy. I’ve written and warned about the gas crisis for five years. We need some form of baseload power while renewable storage technologies develop. We always knew this. That’s why gas was seen as the “transitional fuel” to substitute coal.
The Coalition has sat on its hands as this crisis developed for years. It supported the RET driving coal closures all along while doing nothing to lower the gas price over that time, and recently finally reacted with overly weak domestic reservation.
Now, with its election prospects in the dunny, having flopped around for a policy it can create hysteria around for years, it’s finally thrown away all sense and reason and settled on coal as the answer to is own woes.
This is Tony Abbott’s manufactured carbon tax moral panic all over again, energy power grab 2.0, and that’s all it is:
Malcolm Turnbull is facing a backbench push to stop a clean energy target being embraced as government policy, after former prime minister Tony Abbott fired a warning shot on the political risk of adding the new scheme to existing subsidies for renewable power.
The Prime Minister yesterday played down the need for the target as he attacked Labor over energy prices and reliability, putting a priority on affordable power rather than cuts to carbon emissions.
A solid group has formed within the Coalition party room to oppose a clean energy target out of concern it would push up prices and weaken the security of supply because it would favour renewables over coal or gas generators. The substantial minority is opposed to a clean energy target of any kind and appears unlikely to be satisfied by a scheme that offers small financial incentives for gas-fired power or the most advanced coal-fired power stations.
The Coalition is today a political cancer that jeopardises everything it purports to stand for: freedom, markets, conservation, and god help any person, nation or planet that gets in its way.